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Senate approves $109.3 million in outdoor funds

ST. PAUL - Minnesota senators Monday approved spending $109.3 million on a variety of outdoors projects.

The spending follows the 12-member Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council recommendations that include programs such as $4 million to establish an aquatic invasive species research center at the University of Minnesota and $9.7 million for easements and restoration of wetlands with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Ducks Unlimited.

Another $4.6 million would go to the Department of Natural Resources for competitive grants of up to $400,000 each to smaller organizations for enhancing, restoring or protecting forests, wetlands, prairies and habitats.

“I feel confident this bill takes into consideration the environmental needs of our state," sponsor Sen. Tom Saxhaug, D-Grand Rapids, said. "This is a unique opportunity that our state has to take advantage of this dedicated fund to ensure we are properly preserving and enhancing our state’s natural wonders."

Lessard-Sams money comes from a sales tax increase voters approved in 2008.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
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